Posted by: Ciaran | December 10, 2009

Football team of the decade

Another week, another ‘Best of the Noughties’ debate with my colleagues at CJS.  This time the challenge is to pick the best team of 11 players who have played in the Premiershiep in the past decade.  Not an easy task…

Goalkeeper: Shay Given It is a travesty that even if Manchester City are successful over the next couple of years, a player of Given’s class will retire with a sparse trophy cabinet.  A terrific shot-stopper and a great presence in the box despite not being the biggest of ‘keepers, he is one of the most dependable players in the league’s history.  And he always had plenty of chances to showcase his ability, playing behind Newcastle’s comical defences.  If only he were English.

Left back: Stuart Pearce ‘Psycho’ gets in ahead of Ashley Cole because he is a natural leader; in a team full of captains, Pearce would be the captain.  He is as hard as nails (remember when he tried to “run off” a broken leg while he was at West Ham?) and he strikes a dead ball very nicely indeed.

Centre back: Jonathan Woodgate Maybe a controversial choice on account of his ‘sicknote’ reputation, but justifies his place easily.  He reads the game more naturally than Rio Ferdinand, and is comfortable on the ball.  He is composed at the back even when his side are under pressure, and his disciplinary record is excellent too.  He knows when to put a foot in and when to stand back and invite a mistake.  Needs a haircut, though.

Centre back: Tony Adams Never achieved the international recognition he should have done, and famously pictured with donkey ears by the Daily Mirror after an old goal at Old Trafford, Adams’s career may well have been on a downward trajectory in the Noughties but his role as the linch-pin of Arsenal’s famous defence in the 1990s and as captain of the double-winning side of 2002 sees him take the shirt ahead of John Terry.

Right back: Gary Neville The model of consistency for both England and Manchester United in the early part of the decade, his formidable relationship with David Beckham needs replicating.  Two defensively-minded full-backs frees up the midfield to get forward.

Left wing: Ashley Young Another choice which may raise a few eyebrows, but Young is the complete package.  He is exceptional with both feet, and his ability to cut inside from the left and take on defenders is unmatched.  Another one who can take a great free kick, he will also win a side plenty of penalties with his jinking runs into the box.

Centre midfield: Frank Lampard In the rather trite Lampard v. Gerrard debate, there is only one real winner.  Lampard has been the more consistent of the pair and his England form means he merits being picked ahead of Gerrard, who is talismanic for Liverpool but seldom fails to replicate it on the international stage.  Contrast Lampard’s reaction to going through a sticky patch for England and being booed by his own fans at Wembley; he upped his game, scored some goals, and was once more the golden boy.  Resilient, hard-working and a goal-threat.

Centre midfield: Patrick Vieira Providing the muscle and shouldering the water-carrying responsibilities in the heart of the pitch, Vieira gets the nod ahead of his international colleague Claude Makelele.  Michael Essien, too, gets an honourable mention.  But it is Vieira, whose ability to drive his team forward to success has never been replaced at Arsenal, who takes the other midfield berth.

Right midfield: David Beckham Does this one really need explaining?

Striker: Fernando Torres If this had been written a few weeks ago then it may well have been Thierry Henry, but after his handball robbed the Irish of a place in next summer’s World Cup he loses out to Torres.  The one foreign player in the Premier League I really wish was English, Torres has speed and skill to spare and his finishing is ruthless.  Expect to see him adding a World Cup winner’s medal to his Euro 2008 one.  And probably the World Cup Golden Boot, too.

Striker: Alan Shearer The man guarantees goals.  Simple as.  Like Given, his loyalty to Newcastle deprived him of the honours which his talent so clearly warranted.  His ability in the air and holding the ball up can bring other players into the game, making him the perfect foil for Torres.



  1. What about Nicky Weaver?! teehee! x

  2. […] get involved in the debate. Ciaran Jones and Joe Curtis have already done so – let me know why my team is better than […]

  3. […] first couple of selections were announced and eagerly poured over. Ciaron Jones‘ being of particular entertainment. As can be expected  this led to outcries of fury, […]

  4. Ryan Giggs?

    • ’90s player mate!

  5. Hey, I just wanted to say what a great website. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it interesting reading. Can’t wait for your next post!

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